Thanks to my editor Papakilo14 for catching my mistakes and my friend yozh4k for his help with the story when I was stuck. They made the story better and the mistakes are on me.
When the shit hits the fan there's rarely time to react rationally. There's no plan, no organization; everything just seems to be chaos. Blakely woke up to the sound of her front door breaking. The lights came on outside and her burglar alarm started going off. She was disoriented for a minute but she did have a plan for that. She lived in a log home. It wasn't one of those fake log homes made out of slabs over a stick frame; this was a real log home. The walls were thick and strong and she had a safe room. It doubled as her walk-in closet and she hurried there, locking the heavy door behind her. She dialed 911 and told the dispatcher that someone was breaking into her house. At the same time she took her Ithaca Featherlight 12 gauge shotgun down off the rack on her wall. It was one of the few of her father's things she possessed. She worked the slide on the pump action and chambered a round of 00 buckshot. She loaded another shell, giving her five shots and got her 9 mm pistol and slapped in a clip. She set two more full clips on the table beside the comfortable chair in the closet, sat down, cradled her shotgun and waited for the police. She talked to the dispatcher on her cell phone and she heard noises in her bedroom.
Men's voices were talking heatedly outside her door. A heavy body crashed against it several times before they gave up. Several shots were fired and she supposed they were trying to shoot out the lock. She laughed. It was covered with case hardened steel. She heard a shout and several more shots were fired. There were no more noises in her bedroom but she didn't come out. Her phone beeped, telling her she had an incoming call. She put the police dispatcher on hold and answered it. It was from her nearest neighbor. Blakely lived on a ten acre patch of woods and her closest neighbor was Brand McCalla. She saw his name on the caller ID and she wondered if he had heard the shots.
"Hello, Brand," she said.
"Jesus Christ, Blakely! What the hell is going on? I heard your alarm going off and I came over to check on you. I thought I heard gunshots and when I got there there were three men in your house. They shot at me, Blakely! They tried to kill me and they're chasing me!"
"Where are you?" she asked.
"I'm up on the cliff. I think I lost them but I'm going to climb somewhere they can't follow me."
"Good," she said. Brand was a climber and she knew he could get away. He had mentioned that he had climbed that face several times. "Get somewhere safe and when the police get here I'll send them to you. I'll explain everything when it's over. Come over after the police find you and I'll have a stiff drink and an explanation waiting for you."
She heard sirens in the distance and she switched back to the dispatcher. When the dispatcher told her the police were in the house she told him where she was. Soon there was a knock on the door and a female voice asked if she was okay and identified herself. Blakely pulled the rope to unlock the door and leveled the shotgun. The door swung slowly open and she saw the uniform. The officer raised her hands. "We really are the police, Miss Davidson."
Blakely laughed and put her shotgun back on the rack. "I'm very glad to see you," she said. "My neighbor is up on the cliff above my house. The intruders shot at him when he came to check on me and chased him. I'll call him and tell him you're coming."
Two officers started toward the cliff and Blakely led the woman back downstairs. She refused to answer any questions until she had poured two tumblers of good Scotch and took a seat in a chair. "Now I'm ready," she smiled at the woman.
"I'm Officer Donovan," the woman told her. "Do you know who broke into your house?"
"No, I went to my safe room as soon as I heard the door break," Blakely said. "I never saw anyone. All I know is that they are male. I heard their voices. There were three of them."
"Are you missing anything? Do you think they robbed you?" Donovan asked.
"I haven't had a chance to look, but I don't think they had time," Blakely said. "They weren't in the house more than five minutes before my neighbor interrupted them."
"Would you mind coming down to the station and making a report?"
"No, I'll do that, but not tonight. I'll do it tomorrow afternoon," Blakely said.
The two officers came back with Brand and Blakely thanked them. When she went to the remains of her front door and held it they took the hint and went outside.
"We'll check around outside but there's no sign of anyone. They're gone, Miss Davidson," one of the Officers told her. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Yes, I'll lock the storm door and I'll be fine. I'll be in tomorrow afternoon to make that statement."
She went back inside and Brand was sipping his scotch. "What the hell, Blakely?" he exploded. "Those bastards nearly got me! I heard bullets zipping around. Who were they?"
"I can't tell you that," she said. "It's related to my work."
"You work with homicidal maniacs?" he was incredulous.
"Yes, sometimes. You know I'm an attorney, Brand. I'm a criminal defense attorney. I know that's a contradiction in terms, but I sometimes defend unsavory characters."
"Why would someone want to kill their attorney?" he asked. "Hell, they even tried to kill your neighbor!"
"Maybe they don't like nosy neighbors," she smiled at him.
"Jesus, look at you," he exclaimed. "You're as cool as a cucumber! Has this happened to you before?"
"Not quite like this," she said. "No one has ever broken into my house. I've been shot at before."
"I don't think I even know you," he said. "When did my nice quiet little cute neighbor turn into Rambo?"
"You don't know me very well," she said. "You've only lived here two weeks and we've only met twice."
"Will you go out with me tomorrow?" he asked.
It was Blakely's turn to be surprised. "Where did that come from, Brand?"
"I wanted to ask you the day you brought over the cup cakes and said welcome to the area because you were just so hot," he said. "Now, you're amazing Blakely! I've got to get to know you better."
"Well, I can't go out with you tomorrow," she said. "We both need to go to the police station and make statements. I do have an idea though. Why don't I pick you up for lunch and we'll ride together to the police station. We'll chat and you can see if you want to actually ask me out and I can see if I actually want to go."
"That's perfect," Brand said. "What time do you want to go?"
"Let's talk about it in the morning," Blakely suggested. "I have another favor to ask you. Would you really mind spending the night?"
His jaw dropped and she laughed. "I'm not asking you to have sex, Brand. I'm sort of creeped out by all this and I just want someone around. You can sleep down here in the bedroom and I'll sleep upstairs in mine. Would you do that for me?"
At this point if Blakely had asked for the moon, he would have figured out some way to get it for her. He went home and got things to spend the night. When he got back she had another scotch waiting for him and they talked for a while and went to bed. There wasn't much night left by that time and Blakely slept until ten. Brand seemed to still be asleep so she went down and knocked on his door. He mumbled that he was awake so she made coffee and went back upstairs to shower and dress. By the time she was finished he was sitting at the kitchen bar and drinking coffee. She had muffins she had bought on the way home the evening before and they ate one.
Blakely showed him around the house and he was very impressed. She had what looked like a major communications center in her office. There were eight monitors, all with the capability of showing something different or slaved together and her three computers were all state of the art. She even had an AS 400 running a serious database. Brand was a computer expert. He knew several computer languages and worked for a software giant as a software engineer. What Blakely had was some heavy duty computer horsepower.
"What do you use all this for?" he asked. "It seems like overkill for an attorney."
"I use it to get information," she said. "I'm not telling you everything about what I do, Brand. I'm never going to tell you everything about what I do. If you don't want to be friends with me because of that, I won't hold it against you."
"When did I say that?" he was a little startled by her answer. "Don't try to run me off, Blakely. I didn't say that."
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm not used to having people in my house or asking me questions. It's time for us to leave if we want to eat lunch.
They got in her black Lincoln Navigator and drove to a deli. They had very good pastrami and they both ate their sandwiches with a big pickle wedge. When they were through eating they drove to the police station and made statements. Neither got to hear what the other one said and Brand was curious.
"What did you tell them?" he asked.
"I told them I never saw the men and I had no idea who would want to hurt me," she said. "What did you tell them?"
"I told them there were three of them, they were dressed in black, had masks on and I didn't know any more details because I was running like my ass was on fire," he said. "I tend to do that when people shoot at me."
Blakely laughed. "Well, I hope they catch someone," she said.
"Why do I have the feeling you know exactly what's going on?" he asked. "You know who did this, don't you?"
.... There is more of this story ...